At a Glance
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The program is laced with useful flourishes, such as locking that selection tool so it always selects both channels of a stereo audio file and slider adjustment of FX parameters. NGWave is also extremely fast (it bears repeating), offers non-destructive application of FX, and allows multiple undos. It also supports 8- to 32-bit, as well as 32- and 64-Bit IEEE floating point wave files from 4 kHz to 192 kHz. Many inexpensive editors stop at 48kHz or 96kHz.
Where NGWave starts to reflect its low price is in its smallish feature set. Though the program lets you multiple open files and allows seamless cut and paste to and from the any file types it supports (converting on the fly), that's only .wav, .aiff, and .mp3 (with an external CODEC). You'll need to convert other types such as .wma, .flac, .ogg, etc. to .wav files with another program before editing them. There's also no support for either DirectX or VST processing and FX plug-ins. These literally number in the thousands and support for them is a must for pros.
Nits aside, I found that NGWave's built-in effects and processing worked quite well, the list of which includes: noise reduction, delay, reverb, flange, FFT filter, compression, limiting, distortion and the usual dynamic processing. Curiously missing was chorusing, though the flanger can be adjusted to mimic this effect. I also missed Audacity's simple 78/45/33 vinyl conversion though there are both time and pitch correction on board.
NGWave may not have all the FX and format support of a top-shelf wave editor, but it's far less expensive and it handles the basics quickly and efficiently. If you're frustrated with Audacity's confusing interface and don't have anything else available to you, it's well worth the $30. It's also worth keeping an eye on as the company adds new features. The demo won't save files, but is otherwise completely functional.
--Jon L. Jacobi